Dogmatic theology and the Church Dogmatics A new beginning

In significant respects, Barth had established the pattern of his future work by the time he arrived at Bonn in March 1930. Yet many claim that his book on Anselm was a new beginning. He had taught Anselm in 1926, and written of him in the Christian Dogmatics of 1927, but now he did return to him in a seminar in the summer of 1930. The issue which especially concerned him was how human reason functioned in relation to the reality of God. For Anselm, he finds, intelligere is desired by faith,...

Pneumatology

Moltmann's theology has become more and more strongly pneumatological, a development that culminates in The Spirit of Life. This is in part a consequence of his trinitarian doctrine, which stresses the reciprocal and changing relationships of the three persons, and rejects the subordination of pneumatology to Christology. The principle for both pneumatology and Christology is that they must be understood in relation to each other within an overall trinitarian framework, rather than that...

The systematic agenda

The traditional topics of what is variously called systematic theology, Christian doctrine, dogmatic theology, or constructive theology are God and revelation, predestination (or election), creation and providence, human being, sin and evil, Jesus Christ, atonement (or redemption or salvation), the Holy Spirit (or grace), and Christian living (including justification, sanctification, vocation, ethics, and politics), the church, ministry and sacraments, and eschatology. These doctrines (or...

Discipleship

Originally published in November 1937, just after the closing of Finkenwalde, Discipleship developed a theology of Christian vocation in dialogue with Jesus's Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew. The tone is eschatological, the urgency palpable. The church, Bonhoeffer charges, has become the purveyor of cheap grace - grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate - and remains unwilling to pay the cost of the loss of its power,...

The church

Moltmann describes his ecclesiology alternatively as messianic ecclesiology or relational ecclesiology. Both terms serve to situate the church within God's trinitarian history with the world, more specifically within the missions of the Son and the Spirit on their way to the eschatological kingdom. In the first place, Moltmann's ecclesiology is rooted in his eschatological Christology. The church lives between the past history of Jesus and the universal future in which that history will reach...

Drama and the Christevent

As the church's obedient receptivity gives birth to discipleship, after the manner of the transition in Ignatian spirituality from contemplation to mission, so The Glory of the Lord gives birth to Theo-Drama. It is out of believers' obedience to the one divine Word that the richness and diversity of the many aspects of the Christian church's life are born. Hence the lives of the saints and the classical Christian theologians are not to be seen as pale copies which obstruct our view of the...

Recovering and criticizing the past

A major feature of modernity has been its concern with history. Underlying this is a heightened awareness of change and innovation. The tools that have served this are new methods of research and new criteria for historical reliability. These, together with the greatly increased scale of historical study and research, have had the most obvious effects on theology. The Bible (see especially chapters 17 and 31) and the rest of the Christian heritage have been examined afresh and traditional...

Introduction Life

Paul Tillich's principal goal was to make Christianity understandable and persuasive to religiously skeptical people, modern in culture and secular in sensibility. He came to be extraordinarily effective in that role getting there involved two wrenching turns in his life. The first was World War I. When he entered the German Army in 1914 as a chaplain, Tillich's life had been fairly sheltered and his views, except in theology, were conventionally conservative. Born in 1886, he was raised in a...

Achievement and Debate

When one attempts to summarize the achievements of Pannenberg's theological conception three characteristics seem to be most notable. First of all, Pannenberg's theology is an attempt to meet the challenge of the atheistic critique of religion in the modern era without seeking refuge in strategies of intellectual immunization, and on the reflective level that is required by the intellectual standard of the critique and by its pervasive influence in contemporary culture. Secondly, Pannenberg...

Around Humani Generis

De Lubac had to clarify, at one end of his problematic, the relation between the natural desire for the supernatural and the actual historical offer of grace even if he took this, with the tradition, as always already begun - as the uninterrupted mode of divine action - immediately after the fall and as mediated to all humans by typological anticipation .13 But at the other end, he also had to clarify the issues of natura pura. As we have seen from the quotation in the introduction, Humani...

David F Ford

Christian theology since 1918 has been immensely varied. This has not just been a matter of diverse approaches and conclusions, but also of fundamental differences about what theology is, what modernity is, and what Christianity is, and which questions within these areas are to be given priority. This makes an overview difficult, all the more so because many of the theologians are still alive and producing new works, and some of the movements are still young. This introduction attempts to give,...

Biography and Context

There is a profound congruence between Bonhoeffer's life and times and thought. The telling of his story here will indeed attempt to supply the necessary context for understanding his contributions to religious thought and life, but without pretending that knowing the biography is a sufficient rendering of the remarkable contributions of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to modern theology and practice. Born on February 4, 1906, Dietrich was the sixth of eight siblings, including his twin sister Sabine, all...

Letters and Papers from Prison

The decade leading up to his imprisonment, Bonhoeffer wrote to his friends and coconspirators at Christmas 1942, had been a time when evil appear ed in the form of light, beneficence, loyalty and renewal of blood and soil, nationalism and strength. Every available alternative seemed equally intolerable, repugnant, and futile.39 This essay, After Ten Years, still stands as the gateway to the Letters and Papers from Prison, rooted firmly in the recent past and present for Bonhoeffer. Some of his...

The Surnaturel of 1946

De Lubac's most famous and controversial book was a somewhat ad hoc jamming together of several earlier long articles which nonetheless converged upon a single thesis. Tracing the origin of the terms hyperphues and supernaturalis, de Lubac shows that, following pagan antiquity, they had first of all simply denoted the realm of the divine above that of known physis. The Christian usage referring to an intrusion of the divine within the cosmos and an elevation of humanity was cognate both with a...

The Limit and the Renown of Henri de Lubac

The drastic implications of Henri de Lubac's thought have only gradually come to light. Despite the indirectness and fragmentary character of his work, despite even his failure to do theology or to do philosophy, his influence has now outlasted that of many once-famous names. Arguably, he is, along with Sergei Bulgakov, one of the two truly great theologians of the twentieth century. Yet the lacunae in his work were partly shaped by his battles with authority. Is there not some contradiction...

Dialectical theology to Christian Dogmatics in Outline 1927

No doubt the cry expressed in the 1919 Commentary on Romans captured the imagination of a generation confused, empty, and dismayed by the horror of World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, rampant inflation, political uncertainties, and immensely difficult living conditions in the traumas during and after the war. But it was also undeveloped theologically, and Barth soon began again, rewriting Romans between late 1920 and mid-1921 before leaving for Gottingen.7 His principal question was...

Notes on Contributors

Allan Anderson is Reader in Pentecostal Studies in the Department of Theology at the University of Birmingham. He has a D.Th. from the University of South Africa, where he worked for 23 years as a Pentecostal Charismatic minister and theological educator. He has written numerous articles and five books on African Pentecostalism and Independentism and has edited two books on global Pentecostalism. His latest books are African Reformation 2001 and An Introduction to Pentecostalism 2004 . Richard...

Influence Achievement and Agenda

The influence of Karl Barth has been so extensive as to be virtually coterminous with the history of theology during and since his lifetime. Since his work was both so decisive in its method and so comprehensive in its scope, we continue to meet it both in those whose approaches coincide with his, in those who argue - against him - for other ways, and also in those who extend the topics with which he was concerned within and outside his frame of reference. So much did he reconstitute and...

Ben Fulford Theology

Editing this volume for the third time has been immeasurably more enjoyable and less work because the labor has been shared with a fellow editor, Rachel Muers. My gratitude to her is immense, not only for the many hours she has put in, but also for her tracking of the various aspects of a considerably larger edition, and above all for her wise advice and judgment. She has accompanied this edition from its inception, and it has been a continual stimulation to look at The Modern Theologians...